10 Tips For Fantasy-World Building

10 Tips For Fantasy-World Building

A stepping stone for high fantasy writers
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For those of us interested in authoring a high fantasy novel, the task can seem rather daunting. There’s an entire world you have to build with its own rules you have to flesh out. While your hero is off slaying dragons or fighting armies, the world still carries on. Make the rules too different from our own world and you can quickly find yourself drowning in the complexity of what should be the basis of your story. To simplify things, here’s ten basic details to consider when building your high fantasy world.

1. Geography

Those mountains had to come from somewhere. If it hardly ever rains, why are there thick forests everywhere? Unless there’s some magical reasoning for this, like a battle between giants carving massive canyons in a place with no natural way to make them, you’re better off following our world’s natural laws. Also, if you’re having your character travel a lot, the speed at which they do is going to depend a lot on the geography, especially if there are no roads.

2. Economy

Where’s your middle class? How do you grow food? Why does a peasant in the middle of nowhere have an expensive and/or rare spyglass? It’s tempting to think of people in fantasy as either nobility or peasantry, but in order to have a functioning realm it’s necessary to have craftsmen and merchants fueling trade so your hero can actually get their sturdy leather boots.

3. Add women

Since most high fantasy is set to parallel our own history, I promise you, women weren’t as unempowered as so many writers seem to think we were. This advice is particularly for you male writers, but it can also apply to female writers as well. Since women are half your audience, sidelining us with the argument of ‘men have the power’ probably won’t work the way you want it to. In our world’s history, women have been rulers, servants, conquerors, martyrs, religious leaders, artists, and more, and our world has had some pretty effed up power imbalances between genders.

4. Religion

Even if your character is staunchly agnostic, not everyone in the entire world is. In fact, it’s highly improbable that not a single person believes in some kind of higher power. A simple way to address this could be to mention your hero passing a temple in the city, or a few lines of dialogue of them overhearing a preacher speak to a crowd. It doesn’t have to be super in detail, but having religion present adds another realistic depth to your fantasy world.

5. Why is everyone white?

So we have orcs, elves, dwarves, and any number of magical creatures or races, and not a single one of them is a person of color? Not only can that be alienating, but it’s also highly improbable. You don’t have to address race as a social justice issue, as I’m sure your novel is complex enough. It’s good to keep in mind, though, and helps vary your characters, make your world more believable, and provide representation in a genre that has a history of whitewashing.

If you’re having trouble writing characters of color, there are many blogs and such offering tips and can be found with a quick Google search.

6. Why is everyone straight/cis?

Again, with all the fantastical diversity within your world and there’s not a single LGBT person in the bunch? As much as fantasy is meant to reject or go outside of real life, your audience still consists of real-life people who expect to be able to relate to your novel due to some aspect of relatability to real life.

Just like with writing characters of color, you don’t have to make a social justice issue about it, and there are many online resources to help you properly portray LGBT people.

7. Language

With seven different countries existing across thousands of miles, there’s very little chance that they all speak the same native language. Different races are likely to have their own forms of language as well. Even dialects can make language unintelligible to people who speak different dialects of the same language. Now, this is not to say that you have to go full Tolkien and make up a whole language, but if you mention there being translators or a common language it can really help flesh out your world.

8. War

Having your world be at war for generations yet writing many older adult or elderly characters doesn’t reflect the events going on very well. People die in war, and it has a profound effect on everyone, even if they’re not actually fighting. For example, if thousands die every day, where are your orphan camps? Your cripples? Your child soldiers? This is horrible stuff, but realistic for a war-torn society and something you should consider when writing.

9. Weapons

Not everyone has the same carbon copy magical sword. Not everyone can afford a sword or is trained to use one. Diversifying the weapons used by your characters can increase their chance of success or force them to face mortifying failure due to different fighting styles. For example, if your main character wields a longsword, they’re probably going to have an advantage over someone with a rapier. However, they’re vulnerable to archers and weapons with longer range, such as a polearm or a glaive. Definitely good to consider if you want to challenge your hero.

Also, weapons require maintenance. If your sword wielder doesn’t once sharpen their sword or your archer oil their bowstring, it's one more degree of separation from practicality that can turn off your readers.

10. Politics

I know they’re boring and difficult to understand. If your hero spends the whole book running around in the woods totally isolated, great! You don’t have to worry about politics. But more often than not this isn’t the case. The King has more to worry about than attending balls or smiting enemies. He has to worry about nobility creating alliances against him, about forming his own alliances to thwart those who would take his power. Even minor nobles scheme and plot for more power.

There’s a lot that goes into worldbuilding. A lot more than is on this list. But if you’re looking for a starting point, this is a pretty decent place to start. Good luck, and I can’t wait to read your novels!

Cover Image Credit: pexels.com

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A Playlist From The iPod Of A Middle Schooler In 2007

I will always love you, Akon.
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Something happened today that I never thought in a million years would happen. I opened up a drawer at my parents' house and I found my pink, 4th generation iPod Nano. I had not seen this thing since I graduated from the 8th grade, and the headphones have not left my ears since I pulled it out of that drawer. It's funny to me how music can take you back. You listen to a song and suddenly you're wearing a pair of gauchos, sitting on the bleachers in a gym somewhere, avoiding boys at all cost at your seventh grade dance. So if you were around in 2007 and feel like reminiscing, here is a playlist straight from the iPod of a middle schooler in 2007.

1. "Bad Day" — Daniel Powter

2. "Hips Don't Lie" — Shakira ft. Wyclef Jean

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3. "Unwritten" — Natasha Bedingfield

4. "Run It!" — Chris Brown

5. "Girlfriend" — Avril Lavigne

6. "Move Along" — All-American Rejects

7. "Fergalicious" — Fergie

8. "Every Time We Touch" — Cascada

9. "Ms. New Booty" — Bubba Sparxxx

10. "Chain Hang Low" — Jibbs

11. "Smack That" — Akon ft. Eminem

12. "Waiting on the World to Change" — John Mayer

13. "Stupid Girls" — Pink

14. "Irreplaceable" — Beyonce

15. "Umbrella" — Rihanna ft. Jay-Z

16. "Don't Matter" — Akon

17. "Party Like A Rockstar" — Shop Boyz

18. "This Is Why I'm Hot" — Mims

19. "Beautiful Girls" — Sean Kingston

20. "Bartender" — T-Pain

21. "Pop, Lock and Drop It" — Huey

22. "Wait For You" — Elliot Yamin

23. "Lips Of An Angel" — Hinder

24. "Face Down" — Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

25. "Chasing Cars" — Snow Patrol

26. "No One" — Alicia Keys

27. "Cyclone" — Baby Bash ft. T-Pain

28. "Crank That" — Soulja Boy

29. "Kiss Kiss" — Chris Brown

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30. "Lip Gloss" — Lil' Mama

Cover Image Credit: http://nd01.jxs.cz/368/634/c6501cc7f9_18850334_o2.jpg

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Warcraft 3: Reforged - A legend returns

One of the top 100 games of the century makes a comeback in an epic way.

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17 years ago, the legion invaded the realm of Azeroth, forcing the different races of Humans, Orcs, Night elves, and Undead to make the most unlikely of alliances. There were those who fought for the light while the others wished to banish it. Night and day, the furnaces of Lordaeron burnt bright as the loyal dwarves of Khaz Modan hammer away the swords and shields that would aid the fight ahead.

17 years ago, the young orc warchief Thrall foresaw the fate of his people as meteors of green flames crash upon his lands. He saw the upcoming demise of his clanand ordered a mass evacuation towards a new continent where they shall be safe for generations to come. 17 years ago, the night elves felt a corruption within the Tree of Life, causing them to split into opposing factions: one fought in the name of the Goddess, while the other fought in the name of personal hatred. 17 years ago, a legion of undead came upon the shores of Lordaeron, plaguing the land and defiling the life force of the realm. That was the story of Warcraft, one that spanned continents and races only to join them together for a crucial battle of their history.

Warcraft 3: Reforged - Cinematic Trailer Youtube

Warcraft was a monument to an entire gaming generation, ranked 2nd best game of all time by German games magazine "GameStar." Its fate, however, was ultimately sealed as computing technology became better and overshadowed the old giant. Plus, with the rise of gaming consoles and handheld gaming devices, PC gaming lost its appeal slowly, and games like Starcraft or Warcraft eventually faded into oblivion.

But over on the horizon, Blizzard Entertainment came to the rescue. Following the success of their previous release of Starcraft: Remastered, they decided to come forth with their next great project: remastering Warcraft 3.

Using a new and revamped engine built over the foundations of the old one, they have rebuilt the world we once loved. Adding to that are new, high definition voices and sound effects that they recorded just for this old game. For the blurry characters of old, the team decided to upscale and remodel all present units to give them the 2019 high-def treatment they deserved. For the old user interface (UI), the development team settled on one that resembled the "Starcraft: Remastered" interface, offering more room for players to look at the gorgeous 4K character models. Also, to fit the new continuity from World of Warcraft, Blizzard opted to alter the story by a small margin, showing promising changes to the revived game.

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However, not everyone was hyped when the game was announced. Many gamers expressed disappointment at Blizzard's move of remastering old games instead of developing new ones. Many, feeling uncomfortable at the company's decision, took to the internet and into forums. Some fans expressed concerns over Blizzard's decision to retcon a game they hold dear Some are unhappy with the graphics not being consistent with characters: unit models look too detailed while buildings look cartoonish.

Despite all this, the general population loved the announcement at Blizzcon. As the game slowly reaches its release date of December 31, 2019, the hype can only go up from here. For those of us who can't hold their excitement, here's a video of the crowd's insane reaction to the announcement:


Warcraft 3 Crowd Reaction Youtube

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